Carving new wood font

I have a number of incomplete wood alphabets that I would like to carve replacements for if possible. I understand that cutting ‘quick fix’ type-high lino replacements was historically part of a compositors job, but does anyone have any views on this or wood as a material (and if wood, end grain or not - I seem to have some of each)?


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Cutting replacement wood-type letter is not terribly difficult, but it does take some time. I carve mine from either type high cherry or maple wood that has cured for several years…… it’s my “standard wood” that I normally used for wood-cuts. Somewhere here on Briar Press I described how I prepare this material. I don’t use end-grain wood since I find that it doesn’t cut as easily with hte tools I have.

I use Pfiel hand-chisles, and they work beautifully. If you are good with your hands, then it’s not too difficult. It can be a bit time consuming, but since it’s enjoyable work that’s not a big deal.

Here are a few observations that may help you:

1. use well dried wood.
2. make sure that you cut the block VERY square. If you don’t, then it won’t lock up well.
3. be sure to cut the non-print areas deeply enough so htat the rollers can’t ink the background.

and that’s about it. Cutting your own wood type is not difficult. Have fun, and let us know how it goes.

Here in U.K. Myself and two others are at this very time looking into carving/engraving wood type and similar, (experimenting if you prefer) so far general consensus seems to be that end grain is the way to go, utilising straight, with the grain, appears to give not such good or durable results unless it comes from exactly the centre of the tree, the growth rings allow it to buckle up, on lock up etc, although it is easier to work, fine detail or crisp edges etc apparently dont hold up compared to end grain. I have recently sourced local sawmills for end grain without results, but fortunately our local tool shop, has a good selection of end grain hardwoods, seasoned from a long time ago so I purchased small baulks of Maple, Yew, Oak, and Hornbeam to begin experiments, I have a tiny plus in that with my lathe I have turned 2 pieces down, to type high and squared them of for locking up. So far produced one character with the use of a dremmel type drill and 3/4 of the minature cutters, by hand, but router style, O.K. picked an easy one first Cap Letter “C” First lesson learned HOW DEEP to drive the low areas!!! Will of course post the findings eventually, win loose or complete failure, (after figuring how to post pictures) Feel free to contact via B.P. possibly feed you results /efforts of others here. Thanks to W.C.P. as above but unfortunately, my efforts were 4-5 nights ago.>>>>>Good Luck.